Werder Bremen first club through to UEFA Cup quarter-finals


Saint-Etienne(France) : German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen has become the first club to move into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup after holding French side St Etienne 2-2 on the night to advance 3-2 on aggregate.

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St Etienne, who last season finished fifth in the French first division, but this season have slipped down into the relegation zone, rested several key players including Paul Machado.

Coach Alain Perrin explained before the game that the club’s priority was to fight against relegation.

The home side’s chances of progressing were made even harder after just six minutes when Sebastian Proedl opened the scoring for Werder Bremen from their first corner, heading past goalkeeper Jeremie Janot.

Peruvian international striker Claudio Pizarro, who is facing allegations of having financially benefited from transfers in contradiction to FIFA rules, doubled his side’s lead in the 28th minute with a diving header from a pin-point Mesut Ozil cross.

After the French side had gone down by two goals a large part of their fan block turned around and danced with the backs to the match in protest at Perrin’s decision to bench his best players.

Bremen continued to dominate in the second half, but it was St Etienne who scored the goal when Yohan Benalouane headed home after a cross from Cedric Varrault in the 64th minute.

Sebastien Grax found an unexpected equalizer for the home side two minutes into injury time after a fine solo effort saw him go past three Bremen players.